Belay glasses won’t win any fashion contests for eyewear. They look a little like the trick “see around the corner” glasses that used to be advertised on the front page of comic books. But if you’ve never tried them you might be surprised at how much you were straining your neck to keep an eye on the climber while belaying.
The prisms in the Upshots re-direct your vision upwards while allowing you to keep your chin in a more relaxed position. This is a real benefit while belaying a leader on a long project. They also cut out some visual distractions and allow you to concentrate on the task at hand.
The Metolius Upshots are perhaps the best built belay glasses on the market. They come with solid plastic frames and the high-transparency glass prisms that re-direct your field of vision. The prisms are chunky enough to put up with some accidental abuse.
The sturdy zip case that contains a cleaning pad and a neck lanyard would protect the Upshots even if it was thrown in the pack with your draws. The prisms direct your vision a little to the front as well as overhead. With a minimum of neck movement, you can easily track the climber you are belaying.
They fit over regular glasses and sunglasses well, and without impeding peripheral vision.
The neck lanyard is essential It allows you to take off the glasses when arranging knots and other tasks without having to find a place to put them or dropping them, but the sock-fit on the temple arms didn’t seem to grip enough to combat snags on helmets, racks and hoods. It’s easily fixed with a little tape.
If you want to have a great pair of glasses to make it easier to keep an eye on the leader on long belays, the Upshots are a great option. They come in black, purple and blue. (MSRP $59.95)